St Margaret’s Church, Contractor: Church Lime

Location: Somerby, Lincolnshire,
Lime Material: Singleton Birch NHL 2, NHL 3.5 and Lime Putty
Lime Material Supplier: Church Lime
Contractor: Church Lime
Architect: Gordon Smith of Gordon Smith Conservation
Client: Diocese of Lincoln and the Parochial Parish Council of Somerby

The church was neglected and very run down. The parishioners had invested a great deal of time and effort in clearing the church and grounds of ivy and weeds. The fabric of the church was found to need repairs to the ironstone and chalk masonry. The church had originally been larger than its present size, the two transepts had been removed sometime after the middle ages and the tower had unusually been moved from the east to the west elevation.

Much of the original ironstone was approximately 900 years old and had softened with time. The chalk which had been quarried locally for repairs completed in medieval times had begun to fail completely. Harsh cement mortar which dated from repairs done in the 50s and then again in the 80s was accelerating the degradation.

It was important that a lime was used which would match the properties of the building and halt any further damage. The cement mortar was raked out by hand, the badly eroded stone was replaced, like for like, then repointed. The east wall was rebuilt internally and the now filled in east window replastered and whitewashed with material based on Singleton Birch quicklime. Lime putty mortar was used along with NHL 2 for the walls and NHL 3.5 for the parapets and copings. The aggregate was a Lincoln sand which reflects the nature of the building rather than a pre-mix.